The fight for domain in the illegal liquor business led to communal riot as supporters of bootleggers — Hashim Pathan and Lal Singh Rajput, both migrants from Uttar Pradesh — clashed, pelting stones and soda and liquor bottles at each other in the Kosad area of Amroli in Surat on Thursday night.
The police lobbed 17 teargas shells and booked 300 persons for the riot and detained around 84 youths from both the groups on Friday, deploying a large number of policemen to avoid further trouble. Both the bootleggers run their businesses from the quarters built for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in Kosad area, as part of Surat Municipal Corporation’s zero-slum programme. Over 30,000 people reside in these quarters from both Muslim and Hindu communities and the quarters are notorious for running gambling, liqour and drug dens.
Two days ago, Pathan and his friends had a dispute with the father of Manu Machhi, who works for Rajput, known by the alias of “Lalu Jalim”. Pathan allegedly beat up Machhi who tried to interfere and the latter registered an offence against Pathan and his associates at Amroli police station on Thursday. Rajput had come out of jail a week back, after eight months, for his alleged involvement in the murder of one Deepak Gadhvi.
To take revenge and claim supremacy, Rajput, with his supporters armed with wooden sticks and sharp-edged weapons, went to H-1 row of the quarters where Pathan lived and attacked his liquor den near building number 56. Pathan and his supporters also pelted stones and glass bottles on Lalu Jalim and his supporters. As police reached the spot, both groups threw stones and soda bottles on the police team, injuring a policeman identified as Manish Desai.
Large number of police staff reached the spot and tried to control the situation by lobbing teargas and resorting to lathi charge.
Amroli police sub-inspector C R Desai lodged a complaint of rioting against 300 men in this connection, which include Pathan and Rajput. Amroli police inspector M B Khileri said, “We have brought the situation under control. We have detained 80 men from both the groups and police bandobast have been deployed to control any untoward incident.”
Houses raided for illicit liquor
The Ahmedabad police on Friday raided several houses in Kubernagar and neighbouring areas looking for illicit liquor. Joint Commissioner of Police, sector 2, Ashok Yadav confirmed the raids and said that six different teams had been deployed to conduct the raids. At least three persons have been arrested so far. This is second time in less than a month that such massive raids have been ordered in the area which is notorious for selling illicit liquor.